Sunday, 4 March 2012



“Your vegetarian should be eating beans or pulses every day and lots of Quinoa.” Said the hairdresser -Don’t ask- he’s been a vegetarian for years.

“QUINOA?” I repeated tentatively, not wanting to sound as stupid as I looked, in the black cape with my hair sticking out at odd angles held back by huge clips.

“You use it regularly?” he asked.

I had to confess that I'd heard of it, but never actually cooked it. At the end of our session I was so convinced by the benefits of quinoa that I found myself heading off to Naturally Healthy- the independent Health Food Store in Bedford Place, Southampton. (See the end for more details of this great store)

Queenswood Organic Quinoa

Quinoa, Dorothy, at Naturally Healthy, informed me, was an excellent source of protein and could be cooked and used rather like couscous.

“Phew!” I thought, at least we all like couscous, that’s a start. Dorothy recommended using it in soups and stews to help thicken them, as well as serving it as a base for salads.

Curious I found myself researching further and discovered that Quinoa- pronounced “keen-wa” has a very high protein count almost twice that of rice and barley and also contains Vitamin E, phosphorous, iron and several other vitamins.

Aware that it can be rather bland on its own, and wanting to present this new ingredient in a favourable light, I decided to make a salad using it, hoping the generous amount of garlic, lemon, avocado and cucumber would disguise any bitterness that quinoa is reported to have.

The good news...everyone enjoyed it.

Despite a certain person saying that it looked like baby snail shells... not a great start.. it was eaten and enjoyed and the verdict was yes we’ll have that again.

It takes longer to rehydrate than couscous and needs to simmer whereas I just bung boiling water onto couscous and let it do its thing.

And, if I am being honest, I have to agree with Teen V, it does look a little bit like tiny baby snail shells when hydrated, but DON’T WORRY , it tastes good!

So if you haven’t tried it, do!

 I can recommend it, especially if you are concerned about dwindling protein intake due to lack of meat.

Here’s the recipe I made up, which served four of us as a salad with a tomato and roasted pepper tart and green salad. Both are quick and easy to make and were enjoyed by all.


Preparation time 20 minutes including the 
Cooking time of approx 15 minutes


100 g quinoa- rinsed in cold water
1 avocado
½ orange pepper
1 large clove of garlic
2 inches of cucumber diced
10 basil leaves to decorate.
Juice of ½ a lemon
Drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to season.

1.     Rinse and drain the quinoa in cold water then cover with twice as much boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes or until it has doubled insize.
2.     Cut up all the above vegetables- and put in a bowl with the lemon juice season with salt and pepper
3.     When the quinoa is ready rinse in cold water and drain well before stirring into the bowl.
4.     Drizzle with olive oil, basil leaves and serve.

Quinoa Salad


Preparation time 20-25 minutes including
Cooking time of 20 minutes

½ packet of puff pastry- I use the 500g Just Roll variety
2 -3 large tomatoes
1 red pepper if you can pre roast this for 15 minutes before hand do as it softens it up allowing the sweetness to develop.
1 ball of mozzarella
2 tbsp of red pesto
Basil leaves and a handful of pine nuts to garnish and salt and pepper to season

1.     Turn the oven on to 180 degrees. Dust a baking sheet with flour then roll the pastry to fit the shape of your sheet!
2.     Place the layer of pastry on sheet then spread a thin layer of pesto all over keeping an inch form the edge.
3.     Chop the tomatoes into thin slices and the mozzarella into strips and layer them artistically over the pesto keeping an inch form the edge – this allows the pastry to puff up and keeps any juice from running off!
4.     Cook for approx 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven sprinkle with basil leaves and pine nuts then serve.

In the past I have used more tomatoes for this recipe however I didn’t have enough today and thought the combination of peppers and tomatoes delish.

Tomato and pepper tart

For anyone in the Southampton area NATURALLY HEALTHY is at 
30b Bedford Place, Southampton, England. SO15 2DG

Dorothy also has a therapy room to rent on the premises and is very knowlegable about homeopathic and herbal remedies as well as stocking an excellent range of food and skin care products.

I put England on as I am thrilled to see that I have people reading this in the USA and Russia, so thank you and do leave a message or a comment if you want, I would love to hear from you all.


  1. looks Delicious - even tempting on a snowy day!

  2. Thanks for your comment. Pleased you like the look of it- it tasted great too.